Composer/keyboardist/producer Elodie Lauten creates operas, music for dance and theatre, orchestral, chamber and instrumental music. Not a household name, she is however widely recognized by historians as a leading figure of post-minimalism and a force on the new music scene, with 20 releases on a number of labels.

Her opera Waking in New York, Portrait of Allen Ginsberg was presented by the New York City Opera (2004 VOX and Friends) in May 2004, after being released on 4Tay, following three well-received productions. OrfReo, a new opera for Baroque ensemble was premiered at Merkin Hall by the Queen's Chamber Band, whose New Music Alive CD (released on Capstone in 2004) includes Lauten's The Architect. The Orfreo CD was released in December 2004 on Studio 21. In September 2004 Lauten was composer-in-residence at Hope College, MI. Lauten's Symphony 2001, was premiered in February 2003 by the SEM Orchestra in New York. In 1999, Lauten's Deus ex Machina Cycle for voices and Baroque ensemble (4Tay) received strong critical acclaim in the US and Europe. Lauten's Variations On The Orange Cycle (Lovely Music, 1998) was included in Chamber Music America's list of 100 best works of the 20th century.

Born in Paris, France, she was classically trained as a pianist since age 7. She received a Master's in composition from New York University where she studied Western composition with Dinu Ghezzo and Indian classical music with Ahkmal Parwez. Daughter of jazz pianist/drummer Errol Parker, she is also a fluent improviser. She became an American citizen in 1984 and has lived in New York since the early seventies

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006
The composer-director model

A different kind of event took place at the NYU Skirball Center on Monday, March 6: Mark Adamo, composer du jour, demonstrated how he directs singers, with several scenes excerpted from his operas Little Women and Lysistrata.

The fact that a composer has the opportunity to stage his own work is a sign of progress in my book - no more wasted energy in collaborative discussions or arguments, power plays and ego battles... When it comes to opera, the composer should be in control. And Mark Adamo certainly is, grooving back and forth between music, libretto, lyrics and staging, all at his fingertips.

Another aspect of this type of workshop is that through repeated performances of a scene, one obviously comes to a deeper understanding of the work, whereas watching the entire performance for the first time, some of the details can be missed, especially if the music is unfamiliar.

Mark Adamo's attitude as director is at both confident and humble. He places more emphasis on the emotional subtext than on the physical gestures.

Lysistrata, soon coming up at the NYCO, is unquestionably the 'in' event of the season - even the Guggenheim Works in Process preview performance is already sold out.

The only thing I don't quite get is why is Lysistrata being presented as a love story in the publicity materials. I thought it was a humorous anti-war protest. I mean, love is part of the subtext, as a basic human emotion that is present in most operas, but is the political content of the piece being downplayed or even censored? I wouldn't be surprised.